Monday, July 26, 2010

Thoughts And Ramblings On The 2010 TDF

Did anyone notice that there wasn't a single doping violation (yet) during the Tour? It's about damn time they get some undetectable drugs. Sheesh!

I was thoroughly underwhelmed by ChainGate. If Schleck had done the same thing to Contador, no one would have said shit. Everyone is hung up on calling Contador an asshole because, well, he really just seems like kind of an asshole.

Prior to Stage 4, the commentators did a segment called "What's Wrong With Cavendish?". Seriously? He didn't dominate the first 3 stages and immediately there's something wrong with him? Listen, fuckwits, there's like 50 people trying to win the sprint. You can't be in a perfect position every fucking time. He's the best sprinter Le Tour has ever seen. Oh yeah, did you notice he won 5 FUCKING STAGES? There is nothing wrong with Cav.

Who is Tyler Farrah? I've only seen Tyler Farrar, and I have a hard time believing his last name is pronounced "Fay-rah". I also have a hard time believing he's the next great sprinter.

Lance sure sucked, huh?

When will the world give up on Cadel Evans winning the Tour? WHEN?!?!?!?!?

What the fuck happened to Wiggins?

Ryder Hesjedal kicked major ass.

Petacchi. Huh? I thought he was like 50?

Something about seeing Vino attack just pissed me off. I was actually happy when Contador chased him down and took the win from him.

All the other hopefuls need to be able to climb with Schleck and Contador, or we're going to have a future of boring, 2-man races where they work together on hard mountain stages and hug a lot.

That's all I've got.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So Long, Matty!


Here's a horrible fucking picture of the going away party we had for Matt Williams last night. Matt has been a fixture in the MN cycling scene for years and is moving to Bend, Oregon on Sunday. He'll be missed.

Matt and I started riding at around the same time, and believe it or not, he used to not be able to drop me. It didn't last long, but it was sweet.

I shall leave you with a video Matt sent me this very morning.

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Pimp Phone

I have, in the past, expressed my anger with Motorola for failing to give the Cliq with an upgrade to Android 2.1. They promised an updated in Q2 of 2010. Well, June came and went with no upgrade. Then they gave us some bullshit about putting off their release date to provide a better user experience. That's marketing speak for "this ain't happenin'".

Well, fuck it, I'm sick of it. I can't even use the nice, free, turn-by-turn direction with old-ass Android 1.5. Lame.

Since I'm still under contract with T-Mobile, and I refuse to pay $400 to get out of it, I'm going to be paying retail price for the new Samsung Vibrant. My co-worker got one yesterday, and my jealousy got the best of me. It comes with Android 2.1 and 2.2 is already scheduled. I was hesitant to buy a touch-screen phone (loves me my keyboard!), but after using Swype, I think it will be even faster than typing.

The phone ain't cheap, but I can sell my Cliq to offset some of the cost. Plus, the idea that I'm not further locking myself into a contract makes it worthwhile for me. Plus, no fucking MotoBlur.

I'll give a review of the phone after some time with it, but for now I'm just giddy as can be at the idea of not dealing with Motorola anymore. I will never again give my business to them, because they obviously don't give a shit about supporting their products. I encourage everyone else to do the same.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Renshaw. Fuck Yeah.

I don't agree at all with the official's decision to DQ Renshaw from the Tour for this. From the stage? Maybe. You have to look at the intent. It sure doesn't look to me like he's trying to impede Julian Dean, just getting himself some space.

It's clear that Julian Dean is pushing Renshaw toward the barriers, likely trying to box in Cavendish. Since it's illegal to take your hands off the bars, Renshaw did what he could to get the fucker off of him. He clearly wasn't trying to crash the guy out. These guys ride their bikes for a living. They know how to give (and take) and little shove. Should you go do it in your next Cat 4 crit? Prolly not.

Shutting the door on Farrar was a dickish move, but I'm sure in Renshaw's mind, he was just returning the favor. The intent there was probably to impede him, and I would agree that he should perhaps be relegated from this particular stage in the race. But disqualification from the tour? Fuck off.

The most oblivious line of the day comes from Julian Dean: “And then he carried on afterwards and came across on Tyler’s line and stopped Tyler from possibly winning the stage."

Is there anyone out there who believes that Tyler was going to win that stage? Really?

I know the announcers pander to the American audience and try to get us to rally behind him, and he's a pretty likable guy, actually. But Tyler Farrar will not win a stage in this tour. Just like last year.

Lance probably won't, either.

I'm sure glad Renshaw gave us some excitement today, because the GC race is about as boring as can be now. WTF, they're working together? Yay?

Maybe the race for 3rd will be kick-ass.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Guess Who Didn't* Get Dropped

[photos stolen in a most belligerent fashion from Kyia]
I attended my first Tuesday Night Group Ride of the year, and - I gotta be honest - I was a little worried. Those guys generally hammer the hills and leave me in their dust.

Fortunately, they took it a bit easier last night, which was much appreciated. I actually tripled my longest ride of the year, which sounds impressive until you realized that my longest ride of the year was 48 minutes.

I was able to hang during all the accelerations and didn't even get dropped on any of the (relatively small) hills. I even won a couple sprints, which were uncontested for the most part.

With about 15 miles to go in the ride, I got a front flat. Ben and Mike were nice enough to wait for me. As soon as we started riding again, we realized that my rear tire was going flat. Since the leak appeared to be slow, I kept riding. When I got home, the tire was down to 55 psi. Squishy.

My bike actually shifted relatively well, except for a couple times when I jumped for sprints. So there's that.

I came to a couple realizations during the ride. First, that riding can be more fun than training. Second, that I may have rushed my "comeback" a bit. The realization that my longest ride till now had been 48 minutes (due to the fact that my hip would get sore after anything longer), combined with the expectation that I should be able to keep up with the Cat 1/2 field...well, it just doesn't compute.

It does me little good to be able to sprint really fast for 6 seconds when I don't even have the fitness to wind up properly for a flying 200.

So, for the rest of the year, I'm just going to ride. I'm going to have fun with it. I'll race some, sure, but just for fun. I've got to get my fitness back up and the fun-factor has to be there, which it currently isn't. I can work on tactics and work to get in shape, but any long-term goals are being put on hold. The pressure is making this whole cycling thing suck.

*OK, technically I did get dropped, but it was because of a flat tire.

Suck

I've been sitting at work in my car for over 15 minutes because I don't want to get wet.

I know, I'm cool.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Baby Killdeer


Look closer...

Closer...
For some damn reason, a killdeer laid her eggs in the pea-rock of our playground. Every time we go near it, she flops around on the ground like this.
Well, after keeping the kids away for nearly a month, the babies finally hatched 2 days ago. This morning, they were gone, and the nest was covered up. It must be stressful to be a ground bird.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fine, Do It Yourself

Cross-Training

So, my wife convinced me to go jogging with her over the weekend, and I'm still sore. I'm far too fat to carry my own weight for anything faster than a brisk walk.

We also put the kids on their bikes and did a nice, long rollerblade ride yesterday.

And I went swimming (and didn't sink!).

The one thing all these activities taught me (besides the fact that I'm grossly out of shape) is that my lung capacity sucks. It felt like I couldn't get a full breath, especially when swimming. I guess I have to do lung exercises or some shit. Lame.

I did manage to get in some decent miles on my poorly-shifting road bike, which was nice. Riding early in the morning or later in the evening was actually quite peaceful. I need to try to get to a couple Tuesday night hammer-fests to beat myself into shape...until I get dropped after 30 minutes. Maybe if I was more important, they'd wait for me?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Upgrade Time!

I sold my carbon road wheels on E-Bay, so now I need to do some upgrades to my road bike. I love the bike, but I don't think the 105 components can quite handle me. I've had the dérailleurs adjusted several times, and it still skips gears every time I do an out-of-the-saddle jump, even at 80%. It's gotten to the point that I don't even like riding it, which is a shame because it's fucking awesome.

So, I'm hoping that upgrading the shift/brake levers and rear dérailleur to Ultegra will remedy the issue. Who knows, maybe it's just the dérailleur. Maybe I should try that first.

I'm also thinking about upgrading my wheels. I'm riding the Cane Creek Volos right now, and they're actually pretty sweet. They weigh just over 1500 grams and are relatively stiff, but they don't look super-cool. When you only ride a bike a couple times a month, looking super-cool is imperative. I've pretty much stopped paying attention to road components, so I don't don't what's cool anymore. Ksyriums used to be pretty much king shit. Are they still?

Lastly, and it pains me to say it, I may have to swap out my Cav-wannabe Pro bars. I need something with a flatter top and better transition to the shifters. My fat hands keep falling asleep.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Weekend Recap

I had a helluva weekend, and I'm still exhausted.

We spent the weekend at Franz's cabin, and were plenty busy wakeboarding, tubing, biking, drinking, and chillin'.

I nearly landed my wakeboard flip, but instead had several massive wipeouts, which I'm sure were exciting for everyone except me. I'm gonna land that fucker one of these days.

We had a good bike workout on Sunday, and Franz even did a double workout on Monday while I nursed my wounds. My sinuses were so trashed from crashing on the water that I could barely breathe. Almost totally worth it.

When I got home, I had a lot of TdF coverage to catch up on, and I gotta say this is the most exciting first week I've seen in the 7 years I've been watching. I don't think Lance's chances (hey, that rhymes!) are very good after yesterday, but them's the breaks. He had 7 years of the best luck anyone could ever have.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but, like I said, we drank a lot.

Friday, July 02, 2010

TNL Recap

I sucked.
There, now that that's out of the way, here are the details. The national team sprinters from Trinidad and Tobago were there, and it really changed the dynamic of the races. In the first race, a15-lap scratch race, no one seemed to know what to do. It was kind of a clusterfuck for the first 5-6 laps. I picked the biggest Toboggan (I was calling them The Trini's, but didn't want to slight Tobago) and held his wheel. Evidently, these guys are pure sprinters, because he got popped off the back on the second acceleration. I tried to close the gap and chased by myself for about 4 laps before the field lapped me. Weak, I know.

A note to all those who give me shit for sucking in everything except sprint races (ok, ok, I suck in those too, but I used to not) and skipping the long races: The Toboggans all got dropped in the 15-lap race, but they rode a 44-second Team Sprint a few weeks ago at the Pan Am games. We can't all be all-rounders. Proof that if you want to be really good at something, you gots ta specialize.

I fucked up my keirin heat and failed to make the finals. I had a good start and was riding 3rd wheel. As soon as the motor pulled off, Bergman came over the top from the back. I hopped on his wheel, figuring he would pull me to the front. Inexplicably, gap opened up behind the leader, Njisine Phillip (they call him 'J'), and Bergman filled it, leaving me pushing wind on the outside. I dropped back to 4th position and sat in for a lap, then attacked with one to go. There was a stiff headwind on the homestretch, and I pushed hard to draw even with J coming into turn 1. Then he kicked 'er down and motored away, dragging the other 2 riders with him. I tried one more time coming into the final turn, but didn't have enough left to come around.

Actually, it felt good to be hindered by tactics instead of fitness (or lack thereof). Tactics are a lot easier to fix.

The keirin final consisted of the 3 dudes from Trinidad, the 2 dudes from Texas Roadhouse, and Ferris. Guess who went 1-2-3? Them fellers are fast! I got video of the race, but my phone is being a cocksucker, so I'll try to upload it later.

I had gotten to the track at around 4, and it was over 90 degrees, so I was cooked. I had also had a stressful day at work and was having some stomach issues, so I headed home. I wilt like a dandelion baking in the sun when it's hot out.

That is all.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A Wee Bit O' Progress

Franz and I went to the track for Developmental Time Trials on Monday, and my expectations were low. I mostly just wanted to get some track time.

Warm-up went well and I was feeling pretty good, but there was a stiff headwind on the backstretch, which generally means slower times. I had made a deal with myself (gotta have incentive) that if I didn't break 11.5, I would ride a pursuit.

My first flying 200 felt fast and I finished strong, but my time was a mediocre 11.83. I got in line to go again, and this time rolled an 11.78. Hell, any progress is good news at this point!

The best part was that I feel like my fitness is improving and I was putting down power all the way to the line.

Not being one to make deals I don't keep, I lined up for my pursuit. Since I'm a Masters racer now, I was doing the 3k. My goal was to ride 20-seconds laps. I succeeded in that for the first 5 laps, until I realized that I was less than halfway done. So I backed off a little. Then a little more. Then a little more, until I was getting passed by caterpillars in the infield grass.

I finished well over the 4-minute mark, but it was a good experience nonetheless. And hey, I even beat a couple people!

Racing tonight should be fun. Some fasties from the Trinidad and Tobago national team are in Blaine training, so hopefully they'll grace us with their presence.